14-year-old Mario Melhado attended our Sheffield one-day trial back in February and impressed scouts from newly promoted Premier League side Sheffield United.
Talking to his mother, we asked for some background information on Mario and why he chose to attend our event. She explained: “Mario plays for Pro Soccer Pumas. The first club he was at, he didn’t seem to be going anywhere, or developing as much as we wanted him to so he ended up leaving. His dad kept checking online for opportunities, and came across UK Football Trials.”
As well as finding our event, Mario’s father also came across a football coach, which he thought would be beneficial for his son. His mother told us: “Mario started off just doing the one to one sessions but is now doing the group sessions too. We thought it would be good for him to be able to apply what he’s learning in the one to one sessions to a match environment.”
After impressing at our event, Mario’s mother explained what happened next: “Mario had never been on trial before so we weren’t too sure what to expect. We received an email saying Mario had been successfully scouted but we weren’t aware whom by.
“I then received another email from the scout from Sheffield United who wanted a few more details and told us to sit tight whilst he checked there was a position open in the club.” She added.
Luckily there was room in the club for Mario, with the club making contact again. His mum told us: “We received the initial letter inviting Mario to the assessment centre for six weeks. However, on the second time of attending he scored a hattrick in a friendly match and I think that impressed them, as we were then told they’d like him to join the elite team.
“The elite team is where they could end up offering him a trial for the Sheffield United academy so that’s what we’re hoping to get. It’s a smaller number of players who have all come from the assessment centre and from what I’ve saw, the coach has really been working hard on strengthening their skills and spending the time to make them understand about technical aspect too.” She added.
When asked about the level of the players in the elite team, we were told: “The level of the players at Sheffield United compared to his grassroots club is a different level all together. At Pro Soccer Pumas, Mario is the youngest there, so he’s really had to grow and adapt as a player to fit an older age group of boys.”
She continued: “With the facilities, it’s so far so good. I can’t fault it at all. Not only the facilities but the coaches too, they take time to talk to you and to Mario, to make him feel valued. It’s a different level of coaching, I haven’t seen anything like this in grassroots, you know that you have to focus and listen when they’re talking because what they are giving you is invaluable.”
UK Football Trials would like to wish Mario the best of luck with his football and hope he can continue to impress at Sheffield United and go on to sign for the club.